Choosing where to live is more than just selecting a house; it’s about finding a home. To do that successfully, you must find a balance between a property that fits your lifestyle, is financially suitable, and provides a sense of community and belonging. This decision is one of the most significant ones you’ll make, impacting your daily life and long-term happiness. Even if you are only looking for a short-term solution, if you can tick all the right boxes, you’ll thank yourself later.
In this article, we’ll walk you through all the essential factors to consider when deciding where to live. We hope that by the end of this article, you will know exactly what you need to be looking for to find your dream home.
Know what you can afford
One of the many things people need to improve when deciding where to live is being unrealistic with their financial capabilities. Whether you’re renting or buying your next property, your budget should be set in stone and form the basis of your decision.
Assess your financial situation
Begin by getting a good understanding of your current financial status. This includes analysing your income, expenses, savings, and any existing debts. If you plan on taking out a mortgage for the property, ensure you prepare in advance. This includes calculating how much you could borrow through a mortgage. Lenders typically multiply your yearly income by 4 or 4.5, although this can vary. So if you earn £40,000, you’d be eligible for a mortgage of anywhere between £160,000 and £180,000. An online mortgage calculator tool can help you figure this part out.
Think of other financial expenses
Buying a house is a substantial financial decision, and other expenses can cause issues regarding repayments and budgeting. For example, suppose you’re considering further education, starting a family, or retirement. In that case, these should be factored in to help you decide how much you can comfortably put towards a house.
Set your budget
Based on your situation, set a realistic budget for your search. This isn’t just about the mortgage amount and deposit; you will need to factor in any other costs that may arise, like renovations, solicitor fees and additional moving-related expenses. For renters, factor in deposits and potential rent increases.
Pre-approval for homebuyers
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a highly-advised step if you’re looking to buy. This gives you a clear idea of your budget and strengthens your position as a buyer. Lenders will look at your income, credit report, employment status, and other debts to calculate how much they’re willing to lend.
Are you buying a home to live in or a property to let out?
The reason you’re purchasing a property will also help influence which factors you need to prioritise when looking for the perfect property. Here’s what you need to know:
Buying a home to live in
When buying a property for yourself, your personal preferences and lifestyle will shape your decision. You’re looking for a place that not only fits your budget but also fits in with your lifestyle, family needs, and long-term goals. Here, you need to consider the home’s size and style, distance to work or family, the local community, and the potential for the property to grow with your needs. The idea is the property needs to benefit your life in as many ways as possible for it to be worth it.
Buying a property to let out
On the other hand, purchasing a property as an investment to let out requires a more business-oriented approach. Here, your focus should be on the property’s potential for rental income, capital appreciation, and occupancy rates. So, identify areas with high rental demand and choose properties that appeal to the rental market in that location. In this situation, everything hinges on the potential for a high return on investment (ROI).
What makes a place suitable to live?
You’ll likely be spending a lot of money on your purchase, so finding an excellent place to live should definitely be the highest priority. Here are some factors that you need to think about:
The community in which you live will significantly impact your quality of life. You should always feel proud of being able to say where you live; a large part of that comes down to the local community. Nowadays, it’s not as common to be as connected with neighbours and others in the immediate vicinity; however, those with young families need to create those relationships. A robust and supportive community offers security and a sense of belonging. So identify those areas with a friendly atmosphere and, if possible, look to speak to others who live in the area to help guide your decision.
The size of the property will help you plan for the future, especially for those with young families. Larger land sizes offer more garden space, children’s play areas, and extensions but require more maintenance. Smaller plots mean less privacy but can also be easier to manage and closer to neighbours.
As mentioned earlier, your neighbourhood makes up your local community. Here, you want to research factors such as safety, noise levels, cleanliness, and the general upkeep of the area. Many neighbourhoods usually have a reputation amongst locals. Those problem areas can be identified well ahead of time; if you can’t speak to locals, research the crime rate and visit the area at different times to get an idea of the neighbourhood’s atmosphere.
An area’s current and future development plans can give insights into its potential growth and how it might change. Development can bring improvements and amenities but may also lead to increased traffic or changes in the area’s character. Future developments will usually help maintain or boost your property’s value in the long run; however, they may cause you disturbances in the short term. This is something you’ll need to compromise on.
Local entertainment options can help ensure you’ll always have something to do, whether at a local restaurant, pub or shopping centre. They’ll provide convenience and enjoyment to your day-to-day life. Depending on your situation and lifestyle, some entertainment amenities will be more critical than others.
Transport links are essential for commuting and accessing other parts of the city. Look at the distance from bus and train stations if using public transport. Also, identify how long commutes and traffic during rush hour can take from your new property.
The quality and distance from schools are essential for families with children or plans to have children. Many schools require families to live in a particular catchment area, so if there are specific schools you’re interested in, you may need to search within those areas.
The aesthetic appeal of an area can impact your daily life and your property value. While you should never purchase a property based on views, the appearance of the property and the local area are essential. Well-maintained streets, open green spaces, and an overall clean environment all provide a great living experience.
The overall location of your property affects many aspects of daily life. The distance to and from your workplace, family, or leisure activities can reduce commute times and enhance your quality of life.
What should you consider about a location?
The location of your property is critical, but what exactly should you be looking for?
Here are some things to consider:
How well-connected is it?
Connectivity is crucial, mainly if you rely on public transport or frequent travel. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with buses arriving every few hours. So make sure to check the availability and quality of transport links, including buses, trains, and major roadways. You’ll also want to check how much time you’ll spend in traffic during rush hour and congestion periods for daily commutes to work.
Are you close to the centre of the city/town?
Another critical factor for some people is being closer to the centre of their city. While for some, it may be for a reduced commute time, for others, it can mean more accessible access to entertainment and social activities. However, this will also mean higher property prices, noise, busier stress, and crime rates.
How long do homes stay on the market?
When homes stay on the market in an area, it can help you identify the local property market. A short average market time suggests higher demand, and this can indicate a strong investment potential. On the other hand, longer market times usually signal a slower market, which could affect resale value.
How many shops, schools and other amenities does it have?
The availability of local amenities is critical, especially regarding convenience and quality of life. An area with plenty of schools will be helpful for those who have or are planning a family. Additionally, having access to shops and hospitals can also make a location incredibly convenient for those who don’t have access to cars.
Finding the perfect place to live requires a deep insight into your situation. This involves understanding how much you can afford and what you need to make sure you’ll be happy with your decision.
If you’re looking to move to a new property and need to get your home sold, we can help. Here at Sold.co.uk, we act as an online real estate agent to help sellers sell their property quickly and easily. So, for those who find themselves facing delays due to being in a chain and needing to find a buyer soon, we can help. Get in touch to find out more.
What are the criteria for choosing a place to live?
The criteria for choosing a place to live include:
- Distance to work or schools
- Local amenities (like shops, parks, and entertainment)
- Transport links
- The community’s quality
- The area’s overall aesthetic
- Development potential
How do I know if my area is good to live?
Generally, an area is considered an excellent place to live if it has low crime rates, accessible and quality amenities, reputable schools (if applicable), and a strong sense of community. If you’re still trying to figure it out, approaching a local is the best way to find out. Most people will be happy to let you know whether or not the area is an excellent place to live.
How do I decide where to live in the UK?
When deciding where to live in the UK, you must consider factors like the cost of living, the job market in your field, the quality of local schools, public healthcare facilities, public transport, and the general lifestyle of different regions. Each part of the UK, from London to the quieter countryside, is another. It would help if you found a place that matches your needs and wants.
If you’re unsure where to live, start by thinking about what matters most – job opportunities, lifestyle, family connections, or environment. Then, research and visit potential areas, talk to residents, and consider temporary living arrangements before committing long-term.
What are the three most essential factors in choosing where to live?
The three most important factors often include:
- Affordability – Ensuring the cost of living aligns with your financial situation.
- Safety and security – Living in an area where you feel safe and secure with low crime rates.
- Quality of life – Whether it’s access to amenities, good schools or transport links, being happy where you live is a significant factor.